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Collection at Maxi Zoo!

I think like me, many of us have spent today regrouping and try to get over the shock of the number of arrivals at the SPA yesterday. To say that morale is low would be the understatement of the year. However we must fight on, for the sake of the dogs.

I promised photos of the event at Maxi Zoo and here they are. Everyone who took part in the collection had a good time, chatting to people about their animals (several had adopted from the SPA) and trying to heighten public awareness about the need for neutering in order to stop the proliferation of dogs many of whom are only wanted when they are young and cute and who often end up at the SPA when this is no longer the case.

It was planned to be a one day event, but the shop was open again today, and the stream of customers showed no sign of letting up. So Maxi Zoo asked if we would like to be present again today. Thanks to everyone who gave up their time on a Sunday to meet and greet the public and thanks to Maxi Zoo for being such wonderful hosts yet again.

Here are just some of the photos taken yesterday. If only things weren’t so bleak at the refuge, I am sure we would be skipping with joy. Who knows, maybe some adoptions will follow…..

We are still waiting for a Xmas miracle.

The owner of these two dogs is a staunch supporter of the SPA and already sponsors several dogs. That didn’t stop her making a huge donation of dog food yesterday. Thank you so much!








Pro- neutering and anti abandon leaflets were handed out 













Yesterday’s haul!


Lots of bad news but an adoption at last!

Well, we had either nine or ten arrivals today, I kind of lost count. There was a bit of everything. Two “planned” abandons, including a magnificent (but unwanted) St Bernard and a small hairy dog whose owner is too ill to look after him.

Then there was the return of dogs adopted recently and not so recently, some of whom are definitely abandoned, and a couple who may be wanted but whose details are not up to date on the central register. And we had the arrival of a lost hunt dog, who was identified but almost skeletal. When we suggested to her owner that a bit more food wouldn’t go amiss, he threw his teddies out of the cot, telling us that dogs hunt better when they are hungry, and we can keep the dog. Yeah, we really wanted another dog at the refuge, but at least this gorgeous 9 month old setter will leave us sterilised and vaccinated.

Just before we closed two puppies arrived, and one of our supporters, who had mentioned earlier today that she would be willing to do some fostering, received a phone call a bit sooner than she expected! Thank you so much Aurélie.

It was not all bad however. We had an adoption. Okay, it was planned, but an adoption is an adoption, and the cause of much celebration. Especially as this dog is going to have a fabulous life playing in the grounds of a chateau! Be happy Pumpkin!

Today was also the day of the collection of food at Maxi Zoo, and although I only spent a couple of hours up there (in between stints at the SPA), I was, as ever, amazed by people’s generosity. I will write more about that event tomorrow, as there are some fabulous photos and it is a good news story, which will make a nice change.

For the first time in several years the SPA Carcassonne is going to launch an SOS due to overcrowding. Sad that we should have to resort to this, but things are desperate. Let’s hope urgent appeals in the press and on the internet will bring results.

One of today’s many, many arrivals, Jackson






Pumpkin – ADOPTED 


The value of daily acts of kindness and post adoption news!

Eventually something positive will happen, so please don’t stop reading the blog. However if you need good news now, this is not the place to be.

We can show you a photo of Cocktail, which was not available last night. Isn’t he a handsome boy! Sadly though, he is just one of a number of border collies and border crosses at the SPA, so he has competition if someone is looking for that breed in particular.

A dog arrived this morning having been found dodging traffic at Pont Rouge, but he was reunited with his owners, as was Bruno. But we had the arrival of a golden lab and tomorrow we have two “planned” abandonments (yes, we have a waiting list), plus the return of Balou, who was homed last Saturday. And next week there are five planned abandonments. That is just the dogs we know about, no doubt many many more will arrive having been found straying. We have no more room. And we are fast running out of morale.

We are kept going by daily acts of kindness; the people who come in to walk dogs or to drop off blankets or food at the SPA. They share our passion and we must remember that we are not alone.

And whilst I have been writing this blog, DRC received this photo of Jasper, ex Gafarot, who was adopted one year ago today exactly. He was a terrified dog who was fostered as he was totally unsuited to refuge life. His transformation into the lovely boy he is today is thanks to lots of hard work and patience by both his foster family and his forever family. Stories like this make us realise that our efforts are not all in vain.

Please don’t forget the collection at Maxi Zoo tomorrow. I just hope it results in some adoptions. That is what is most urgent right now.

Cocktail – yesterday’s arrival






Today’s arrival













Daily acts of kindness – THANK YOU!













And Jasper ( ex Gafarot) one year after adoption. Never has an email been better- timed.


Arrival of final member of Cocktail litter.

Today was yet another depressing day at the SPA with two dogs arriving. One, Bruno, was adopted from us recently and his owners are coming to get him tomorrow, but the other is yet another abandoned dog.

Who remembers the “cocktail” litter, which included Mojito, Pina Colada etc? Well, one of this litter was homed before making it to the refuge. So “Cocktail” is not identified, nor has he had any vaccinations. Congratulations both to the supremely responsible breeder (what he did was illegal, also) and also to his owner who has now decided that he doesn’t want a puppy after all. Or rather he does not want a one year old dog who used to be a puppy. You make our lives so much easier, says she, not entirely sincerely.

Still, the sun shone and several volunteers were at the SPA to walk dogs. Ewok’s godmother came along with some gifts for him, and we received a delivery of plastic dog beds from Randy and friends. Apart from that there was nothing to report, so once again we have to cheer ourselves up with pictures of ex-SPA dogs getting ready for Santa.

I am hoping we have some adoptions soon. Abandoning dogs for the holiday season seems to be more the way things are going and we are getting very full. Again.

This Saturday there is our final pre-Christmas event; a collection of dog food and accessories at Maxi Zoo, Carcassonne. This shop is located at the Industrial area La Ferraudière, which is in the Salvaza area, so you can combine your visit with some Xmas shopping.

The SPA will be open, of course, only shutting on Christmas and New Year ’s Day, so it is not too late to come and buy a treat filled bauble for the dog or cat in your life. Or better still, come and adopt and put a smile not only on the face of a dog, but also on those of the volunteers and employees who are getting rather demoralised at the moment!

Patterson is waiting patiently











Flo’s eyes are as bright as the Xmas tree lights!













And don’t forget the collection of dog food this Saturday



Some crumbs of comfort

I wish I could give you some good news today to bring joy to our hearts. However sadly I have nothing remotely cheery to tell you.

Someone contacted the SPA Facebook page to ask if we could help them sell their Chihuahua puppies. Err; wrong move. No, it wasn’t me that replied; I don’t know that many swear words. Only kidding; the person who responded was very controlled. But we are not the people to contact when you are trying to make money from breeding. We have enough dogs of our own to home, thank you.

On the subject of which, Dick, whom some of you may have seen on Facebook, is not yet at the SPA, but is on his way to us. He has never been indoors and is merely a “tool” used for hunting. He had a fight with the other dog (also male, also uncastrated) and it is “impossible” to separate the two dogs (by which we understand that to do so would involve some effort). Sometimes people wonder why we are not the biggest fans of hunters at the SPA. Yes, I know there are good hunters too (or at least some do love their dogs; I am thinking of how happy Gary is with his family, amongst others), but the lack of compassion we saw yesterday did not make us any  more favourably disposed to people who treat their animals so callously.

You may think I am being a bit ranty, and it is true, today has been a bit frustrating. But luckily there are always reasons to be cheerful, parts one, two, three (to quote Ian Dury)! So here we have some photos of some ex SPA dogs now happily homed and waiting for Santa!

And there were no arrivals, so things could have been worse. The run up to Christmas is always a bit difficult. Stress levels rise amongst families for financial and other reasons (kids are home from school), and getting rid of a pet often seems like an easy option. For those of us who adore our dogs and cats, dumping them is just unthinkable and we have trouble understanding what planet the other people live on.

Which side are you on?

Dick – about to be dumped. 











A far happier dog- Benson waiting for Santa













Guismo trying to hide his huge ears behind reindeer antlers












And Popeye – adopted from the SPA when there was still 6 months quarantine!


Adoption of Dia”bob”lo

Well, the dog who was reserved on Sunday left today. The lucky boy was Diabolo, and we are over the moon for him. He, as you may remember, was found along with his brother Panach at the Club Canin at Trebes. Panach was adopted last weekend, and everyone was wondering how Diabolo would get on without his brother. He proved to be very sociable, sharing his box with firstly with DJ (adopted) and then Sam (still waiting) and is just such a lovely, gentle character. However he risked being passed over, as he looks like many other dogs at the SPA (shepherd cross, black and tan), and we wanted this young dog to leave before he did much more time behind bars.

Diabolo is still a bit timid, for instance he lies down when a car passes, and there is still some work to be done, but with love and patience, both of which he will receive plenty of in his new home, this is going to be a true gem of a dog. Many thanks to his adopters, but also to volunteers Virginia and Nathan who spent so much time walking Diabolo and Panach, and to everyone else who spent time with these two lovely dogs.

In other SPA news, a bit about yesterday’s arrivals. Firstly old lady Nala. She was found three weeks ago, but the people who found her did not bother telling the SPA. This means that her owners may well have had three weeks of sleepless nights. How many more times do people have to be told; if you find a dog, let the SPA know. And yes, that applies even if you want to keep the dog for yourself. How would you feel if someone stole your dog?

As Moira told us yesterday, the nine (yes, 9) pups are all being fostered, so many many thanks to the volunteers who are fulfilling this crucial role. Just as well Joelle didn’t keep Jazzy, isn’t it? She has 2 new house guests. Thanks also to Melanie (2), Audrey (2) and Marie- Pierre and family (3). As to the person who brought them in saying merely “Oops”, you really need to get your dogs sterilised. The SPA is not just a dustbin where you can offload your mistakes. It is not fair on the other dogs who are waiting patiently for homes and whose departure is almost inevitably pushed back by the arrival of cute new pups. We have dogs who have been waiting for over three years. Stop bringing more dogs into this world which is already overpopulated.

Tonight we are happy for Diabolo, or rather “Bob” as he is now called, but sad for all the other unwanted dogs both at the SPA and elsewhere.

Bob (ex Diabolo) – ADOPTED
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Jaïa, one of yesterday’s many pups.



Bowie Wows Everyone….

Like lots of the SPA volunteers I am used to overnight doggy guests so when I went off to collect Bowie from the SPA on Friday I was unaware just how good natured and easy this boy was. He was coming to stay overnight and then travel with us all the way to Edinburgh. What an adventure for a dog who had been found straying just a couple of months beforehand!

When Bowie was found in Esperaza he was a bit bedraggled and was very thin. Sometimes dogs need a wee bit tlc so Carole offered to foster him whilst we tried to find his owners and then a home. Our volunteer Elinor spends most of the summer at her house in Esperaza and had not long returned to Scotland but had certainly not seen him whilst out and about there so had someone just lost him, had he been dumped there, where had such a stunning dog just appeared from…we will never know!

He settled in well at Carole’s and we soon learnt that he got along with other dogs, cats and children which certainly makes rehoming easier but even so we wanted the best of homes for this boy! Elinor jumped into action and spread the word about Bowie and low and behold one of her friends mum was looking for a doggy companion to share her retirement with. This was great news but Bowie was in Carcassonne and his new home in Dunblane, Scotland. Distance is seldom a problem for us and as I was travelling to Scotland for Christmas it seemed logical that I should take him with me. Bowie would be our 8th dog to come to Scotland.

Introductions to my dogs went well, he had perfect doggy manners and after a nice walk he came in and settled down for a snooze. It was quickly apparent that Carole had worked wonders with this boy as he was perfectly behaved, a really easy dog to look after. This is just as well as my hubby tweeked his back just before we left so could hardly move let alone drive or help with the dogs enroute! I needn’t have worried, Bowies lead skills were amazing and it was ever so easy to walk the 3 dogs together.

When we are transporting rescue dogs we rarely stay overnight in a hotel with them but we decided that we could risk it with Bowie and sure enough he was a star! The receptionist fell in love with him and he lapped up all the attention. The next day, after a further 10 hours travel we arrived to meet a very excited Elinor and Bowies new mum Margaret.  I was watching their reactions carefully and when they saw him jump out of the car I knew right away that they were delighted with him. Bowie gave a woof and started to roll about at Margaret’s feet, I am sure he knew she was his forever mum! Bowie is now called Beau which is a great name for this big beautiful boy!

By the time we had had a blether with Elinor and Dave and driven to Dundee there was already news and pictures of him with his new family. This very special boy has a great family and its story’s like that which keep us motivated which ensures all of our doggys get their happy ending too!

At the SPA, the news today is not good… 9 pups and one older dog have arrived! These pups are teckle crosess from 2 litters and are about 2 months old , 5 boys and 4 girls and all will be fostered for the time being! More news on the pups and new arrival tomorrow!


Beau’s first paws in Scotland! 

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Beau with his new playmates…


Christmas Cheer!

Today was the day of the Christmas Market at Cavanac, where the SPA had a stall. It looked very festive, the weather cooperated and the team seems to have had a great time. One of the highlights was a visit by Kaiser, who had spent so long at the SPA that some of us were wondering if his time would ever come. Look at him now, all sleek and lovely. Just goes to show, you should never give up!

Also the SPA was open this afternoon, which was a bit of a last minute decision based on availability of volunteers and the weather. Of course, without the usual publicity we could not expect too many visitors, but at least the dogs and cats were not alone, as is usually the case on Sunday afternoons.

We had two reservations, including Jazzy, the second of the puppies who have been fostered by Joëlle. Probably just as well, as I think her husband was about to give in and adopt her. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but our foster families are a precious commodity and once a household reaches critical mass, fostering becomes impossible.

Plenty of dogs were walked thanks to our volunteers and we sold some more Xmas baubles to hang on the tree. All the delicious gingerbread cakes were bought, too, so thanks to our talented baker!

We also gained a couple of new dog walkers, who are always welcome. And no dogs or cats were left at the gates, so it was a good day.

Finally I thought you might like to see this picture of Callie, who was adopted almost 2 years ago. She is just getting some sleep before joining Santa on his journey! After this weekend we are all much more in the mood for Christmas!

The stand at Cavanac












And a visit from Kaiser 












Callie prepares for her flight!


Fundraising and the adoption of Balou!

Last night DRC had a Christmas fundraiser and as all the funds will make their way to the SPA, I think it is okay to share the news with SPA supporters too! Karen and “Team Balestide” hosted 50 guests, all of whom enjoyed an evening of food, dancing and merriment. Of course there was a raffle and we had a guest appearance from Leika, who has been to the poodle parlour and is all white and fluffy!

Thanks so much to Karen and her team. We all had a lovely evening whilst raising money for an excellent cause. It was lovely to spend time away from the SPA but in the company of so many like-minded people!

At the SPA today, yesterday’s arrival, Slack, was reclaimed. Her owner was not too happy, as apparently the dog was outside her own house and she did not want to spend the money getting the dog identified so close to Christmas. Well, there are two solutions to this problem. One, get your dog identified beforehand (identification is obligatory, after all). Or two, do not leave your dog to roam all day. Oh, and of course there is number three; leave your dog at the SPA where she will be sterilised and not have unwanted litter after unwanted litter (which is the inevitable fate of a female who is left to stray). Hey ho.

We had an adoption too, which is always good news. Lovely Balou left with a family who has three children and two cats! Balou was abandoned at the end of September, so he has not had too long to wait compared to some other dogs, but I am sure he agrees that it was quite long enough!

We are open tomorrow afternoon, so why not come along and join us for a walk or maybe meet the dog or cat of your dreams.There will be some cakes for sale and gifts for the dog or cat in your life, too. And of course don’t forget that there is the market at Cavanac too!

Oh, and finally, I thought you would like to see this photo of Bowie, who has just set his paws on English soil for the first time. He has been an angel to travel with, sleeping most of the way. He missed his one and only chance to see Paris; maybe he is just waiting to get into his kilt!

Leika has been to the poodle parlour!
























Bowie – well on his way

photo (1)









We are open tomorrow from 14-17H00




Bowie leaves as does Zumba. One arrival.

Today was a tough one for one foster family. When Bowie arrived in late October he went straight home to be fostered by Carole. She is a great lover of golden retrievers, and Bowie was thin and had some issue with his back leg. Initially everyone expected (hoped) that the foster would turn into an adoption, but with great sadness the decision was taken that there was no room at the inn, and so Bowie needed a home.

Of course, being a stunning lad, this was not too hard, but the problem was that Bowie would not be able to leave until today. That is a long time to keep a dog, especially one who has fitted into your life with such ease, despite the presence of cats, toddlers and other dogs. I can only imagine how Carole and her family felt as goodbyes were made. I know Moira felt guilty as hell, as it is she who is taking Bowie to his new home in Scotland.

I am sure she will tell us all about his journey in a future blog, and I am looking forward to a picture of Bowie under the “Welcome to Scotland” sign that greets visitors who venture north of the border! But three cheers to Carole for saving this lovely dog from ever knowing the inside of the refuge.

In other SPA news, Eloi finally left (if you recall I accidentally announced this when he had been reserved) and one of Joëlle’s puppies, Zumba, was adopted too. Her sister Jazzy still needs a home. And we had an arrivavl. One of our volunteers found a dog wandering between Malves and Villalier. She is not identified and is currently “in the pound” hoping either that her owners will come and get her or that someone else will adopt her.

Apart from that we have decided that with such a fabulous weather forecast for Sunday, the refuge will be open, but just until 17H00. After that it is too dark to really see the dogs. It will be volunteers only and I for one need to get back to walk my own pack before night falls. If you wish to come along, we would love to see you, but please leave adequate time to meet your future pet, as gates will shut an hour earlier than usual. There will be Xmas gifts on sale for both you and your pets!

Also please don’t forget that also on Sunday the SPA will have a stand at the Xmas Market in Cavanac. There also you can buy Xmas treats for dogs and cats, as well as other Yuletide gifts. Come along and support the team, you will have a lovely time. It starts at 10H00, so you could pop up to Cavanac before coming to the SPA!

This is the last photo Carole took of her beloved Bowie today. Fostering is not easy. 












Zumba is adopted too, so foster mum Joëlle has just Jazzy left now









This girl is probably just lost as she is in great condition.